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21st Century Learning

More than Just a Princess

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‘Girls- to do the dishes / Girls- to clean up my room’ vs. ‘Girls- to build the spaceship / Girls to code the new app’….hmmmm, seems like a bit of a no-brainer to us, especially as fathers of sharper than tacks daughters, who wouldn’t go ANYWHERE near the bedrooms of The Beastie Boys.

In case you missed it, there’s been some hoopla about the use of a Beastie Boys song from the 80’s called ‘Girls’ by the folks at Goldieblox– who are aiming to ‘disrupt the pink aisle’ by ‘building games for girls to inspire future engineers’. Now, what the Beasties claim is ‘copyright infringement’, we here at NXHQ see as the ultimate in reclaiming a word and bringing it home to its rightful owners- the girls!!

We first saw the famous vid the morning we happened to have a meeting with NCWIT (The National Centre for Women in Technology).  We had met them over in Dublin at Web Summit 2013 and wanted to have a chat about bringing their first Canadian startup on board. And guess what? Goldiblox is one of their Entrepreneurial Alliance Members- and NOW so is Nexed!

In the end, lawsuits were then threatened and withdrawn by both sides, and Goldiblox (perhaps showing their gentler and ultimately wiser nature) has now switched up the music that sent their video viral. It’s still great, but really such a shame that it had to come to this. Wouldn’t you think that the Beasties might want to get some good karma back for their misogynist ways back in the day? Or MAYBE, just maybe this was all a brilliant marketing scheme by the Goldiblox-ers- who certainly seem like they have the brains to stay one step ahead of the Boys.

IF you want to see it in all its original, pink-aisle disrupting glory,  go check out:

 http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/11/19/goldieblox_commercial_rewrites_the_beastie_boys_urges_young_girls_to_pursue.html

Hope that doesn’t get anyone in any more trouble…but sometimes a little disruption is exactly what the princess ordered :)

 

 

 

Who’s up for a Chat?

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Hopefully you’ve heard, but we forgive you if you haven’t, Answerables has moved into Open Beta! Close to 2 years in the making; we’re putting it out there for you to try out for free, and feedback to us on how to make it even better. So, if you missed the memo, head over to the Aswerables dashboard, sign up and download it,  and see what all the fuss is about! You can even do it right now if you like…this blog’s not going anywhere ;).

But if you ARE still reading, we’re going to be highlighting some of the awesomeness that’s been integrated into Answerables for your user experience pleasure in the next few blogs.

Today we’d like to introduce you to our voice and video chat, courtesy of a couple of cutting edge technologies: WebRTC by Google and OpenTok by TokBox.

WebRTC was developed by the good folks at Google, who then put it out ‘open source’ (which means free to use, which is always good). The RTC stands for ‘real time communication’. Basically, it enables web browsers to allow for real time communication between users.

We then took something called OpenTok by TokBox , mixed and stirred, and the next thing you know…after a few weeks of fancy footwork by our resident geniuses…voila! Voice and video chat that’s really been turning some heads with our first sets of users; it seems they haven’t seen anything quite like it. Perfect :)

Picture this. Your avatar wanders over to a set of backpacks on the floor (we call them Compacks). You click on one and it appears on your back. Click on the video chat button on the compack and you appear on a small screen- above your head to others, but on the compack as well so you can make sure your hair looks good ;). Click on the microphone button and you have voice. Cooking with gas!!

For educators this has got to get those cylinders firing: online face to face tutoring; after school ‘office hours’ from home; running a ‘live’ classroom portal; meetings with colleagues for PD sessions.

And for students…well, we know of at least ONE who wants to show Vince Carter’s Top 10 dunk videos to his friends, and provide live commentary to them as he does it!

Hey, sign up…maybe you’ll get an invite!

Kickin’ it New-School: Answerables

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T.S. Eliot wrote “The end is where we start from.” And it’s with thoughts of new beginnings and endings of long journeys that we welcome you to Nexed.

Created by two fathers, educators and lifelong square pegs wiggling around in round holes, who saw such a great need for an evolution in how we are currently using educational technology, that we decided to light out for a new frontier, leaving behind the comforts of web 2.0, in search for something more for OUR and YOUR children.

What we began to discover along the way is something that as educators we have known all along, but that perhaps we could do well to remind ourselves. (more…)